Eclipse 2019: A Unique Opportunity for Research of the Sun and the Earth

The first total solar eclipse since the Great American Eclipse on August 21, 2017, will take place on July 2, 2019, and will be seen from the South Pacific, Argentina, and Chile. Apart from providing a spectacular view, a total solar eclipse also gives a chance for researchers to collect valuable data to learn more about the Sun and the Earth.

The eclipse of 2019 will begin on July 2, a few minutes after 4 p.m. in Argentina, and will end at about 5:45 p.m. local time. When the Moon’s shadow covers the bright disk of the Sun during the total eclipse, the provinces along the path of totality, such as Buenos Aires, Cordoba, San Juan, Santa Fe, San Luis, and La Rioja, will experience the darkness of twilight for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds before the sunset.

Time of the Eclipse

Totality can be seen at about 5:39 p.m. in San Juan and at about 5: 42 p.m. in Buenos Aires. A total eclipse is a rare event, happening only once in about 18 months at any location on the planet. That is why it is a unique opportunity to study the Sun and the effect it has on the Earth.

The solar eclipse of July 2, 2019, will give a unique opportunity for the researchers to study the interaction between the Sun and our planet because of the eclipse’s path over land. On land, the total eclipse will be visible from select parts of Chile and Argentina. The scientist plan to collect both ground-based observations and information from satellites.

Total eclipse gives the potential for scientific studies to observe the Earth and the Sun, test new research tools, and combine the findings of expert astronomers with the images and other data collected by amateurs.  

Studying the Corona

During the time of totality, the Moon completely blocks the bright face of the Sun and reveals the corona, which is the relatively faint atmosphere of the Sun. For research, scientists can also create an artificial solar eclipse by using a coronagraph, an instrument in which a disk is used to block out the Sun.

However, this method is not perfect, because of diffraction blurring the light near the disk in the instrument, which makes it difficult to capture the images of the corona’s inner layers. As a result, a total solar eclipse is the only perfect solution for studying those layers in detail. The inner regions of the corona are important for scientists, since they may help them understand where space water comes from and explain the Sun-Earth connection.

A total solar eclipse is also a unique chance for the researchers to study the Earth under uncommon conditions. When the Moon’s shadow blocks the Sun, the temperature on the ground becomes noticeably lower, and it becomes dark as in twilight, which in turn could impact weather, plants, and animal behavior.

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